Mike’s blog has been hijacked my his loving wife, Susie, with my accomplices Matt and Brian (his brothers and authors of the post). Happy Birthday!
[Mike’s update to the blog. Thanks for the awesome birthday present! For anyone who might be interested in checking out previous birthday posts, you can find Susie 2011 and 2012, Matt 2011 and 2012, Brian 2011, Abby 2012 and Nicole 2012 at those respective links]
Today, I am here to turn the tables on Mike and write about him for his birthday, since he has been so nice to write on his blog about all of us in the past.
I wanted to provide a little perspective about other things you may not know about Mike, to fill out the picture a bit. He has shared a lot of information about himself, but there is oh so much to know. So, with help from Matt and Susie, here are some thoughts and stories about Mike on his birthday.
His other sports skills / thankless roles
Mike has talked about his catching days and his bowling skills but he has other skills, which not many may know about. In high school, he was a long snapper. This is a thankless position. No one pays attention to you until you screw up. And having been in that position myself, it is very easy to screw up. I did on multiple occasions. But not Mike – he was phenomenal. After his senior year of high school, he received a visit from Heisman trophy runner-up Leroy Keyes to talk a little bit about long-snapping at Purdue. They don’t hand out scholarships for that type of thing (underappreciated as it is), and it didn’t work out in the end, but I have got to believe that any type of recruiting for that role is quite the accomplishment and a statement about how good he was. I would be willing to bet Mike could still fire a snap 14 yards and place it right on the punter’s hip today.
Mike was always doing those thankless jobs in other sports as well. Mike was not the greatest basketball player. In grade school, he was able to get by largely by being bigger than other kids. As he hit high school, and he faced others his size and bigger, he realized he had to change his game in order to play. He was able to find his niche as a defender. His basketball teams freshman and sophomore year may not have won very many games, but Mike never stopped playing his aggressive style of defense. Mike was that guy on the court that you hated playing against but you loved having on your team, he was the Brian Cardinal of Mt. Carmel basketball. Mike probably racked up more double fouls than anyone in history due to his physical defense getting under the skin of many an opponent. Mike frustrated a player from Simeon so much that the guy hip tossed him to the ground. And his frustrating ways were not confined to the basketball court. Mike was often booed by the opposing team for his aggressive chanting behind the plate in Little League and Babe Ruth baseball. He was that 11 year old yelling ‘Hey Batter Batter’ at that top of his lungs – as a catcher. Not often do you see adults boo kids, but Mike would invariably find himself on the receiving end of jeers from opposing fans because he was so good at getting under everyone’s skin.
Despite his penchant for antagonizing opponents and their fans, I would like to take this time to clarify that there is no truth to the rumor that Mike once kicked a kid’s artificial leg off during a soccer game. I don’t know how that rumor got started, but it is one of the funnier things that I have heard. Frankly, I think Mike should have taken that and ran with it. He could have really used it to his advantage to strike fear into the hearts of his opponents. But Mike is too nice of a guy to do such a thing.
Somehow, someway, when Mike was younger, he became a fan of the USC Trojans. When Mike was about 14 or 15, he wanted to prove his love to USC and convinced my parents to by a USC sweatshirt for him. This was perhaps Mike’s favorite article of clothing ever.
How do I know this? Well, he still has this sweatshirt today and continues to wear it. The last time I saw it, it was pretty beat up – it has holes in it and paint stains – but that doesn’t stop Mike from wearing it. Mike considers it to be the ultimate in comfort. I guess almost two decades of wear and tear will help mold it to the body, and by default become extremely comfortable.
I will be a little sad when its gone, because it’s almost like part of the family, it’s been around so long. Part of me hopes Mike keeps it around forever, and he hands it down to Hannah or Amelia (although I’m sure Susie vehemently disagrees).
A man of varied tastes
Mike is a doctor and he wears bow ties. With those two pieces of information, you would probably think you had him pegged. But no – that’s just where things start getting interesting. Mike has a variety of interests and peculiarities that make him unlike any person I have ever met. Here are just a few of the things that make Mike tick.
Like 12-year-old girls everywhere, Mike highly enjoys the music of Katy Perry and Ke$ha, can sing along with their songs, and has taken the time to see them in concert. He is a fan of the kids show Phineas and Ferb and owns a Perry the Platypus t-shirt. His favorite tv shows of all time is MacGuyver. His favorite Michael Jackson song is Dirty Diana and makes sure to mention it if he gets the chance. He has owned every Nintendo gaming system ever released. He has watched the movies Honey and Glitter – and I would bet that he enjoyed them both. He once owned a golf club that had a club head made of wood. He and Susie have been adopting wombats at the Brookfield Zoo for the last 13 years.
Going through that list, you might have been able to identify some people who fit a few of those criteria. But I doubt anyone comes close to matching them all. Except for Mike. That’s who Mike is.
Happy Birthday Mike. I hope you enjoyed reading these stories as much as we enjoy reading what you write about us.